(Wall Street Journal) — A new federal and state program on health-insurance rates will determine whether bad publicity alone is enough to stop insurers from levying steep increases. Starting Thursday, the Obama administration and states will automatically scrutinize any proposed health-premium increase of 10% or more as part of the 2010 health-overhaul law. The change applies to an estimated 34.8 million insurance policies that Americans buy on their own or get through a small employer—two markets where consumers have faced particularly hefty increases in recent years. America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main lobbying group, found that about half of all increases in the individual-insurance market exceeded 10% each year for the past three years.
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